Service and demographic factors, health, trauma exposure, and participation are associated with adjustment for former Australian Defense Force members

Kylie Carra, Michael Curtin, Tracy Fortune, Brett Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Approximately 50% of transitioning service members report difficulty adjusting to civilian life. However, there is limited research exploring factors that influence adjustment for former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of demographic and service-related characteristics, trauma exposure, health, and participation in meaningful occupations on adjustment for former ADF members. One hundred and ninety-eight former ADF members completed a voluntary, online survey containing validated self-report measures for adjustment, health, and exposure to combat and military sexual trauma. Participation in meaningful occupations was assessed using open-ended questions and a rating scale for frequency of participation. A more difficult adjustment was reported by participants who had completed operational service, reported exposure to combat and/or military sexual trauma, had poor physical health and were discharged for medical reasons. Other characteristics associated with a difficult adjustment included emotional distress, involuntary discharge, age category 30–49 years, final rank of Senior Noncommissioned Officer/Warrant Officer or below, and discharge 6–8 years previously. Employment, voluntary work and care, and social and community interaction were associated with an easier adjustment. Screening tools that consider health, age, deployment type, final rank, type of discharge and exposure to combat or military sexual trauma may be helpful to identify and refer high risk individuals to employment, rehabilitation or transition support programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages14
JournalMilitary Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2022

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